Water carved out the mountains. Policy communication of Engaged Buddhists related to international development cooperation

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Water carved out the mountains. Policy communication of Engaged Buddhists related to international development cooperation

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Publication 1-year master student thesis
Title Water carved out the mountains. Policy communication of Engaged Buddhists related to international development cooperation
Author(s) Olson, Kristin
Date 2016
English abstract
The study “Water carved out the mountains. Policy communication of Engaged Buddhists related to international development cooperation” contributes to an understanding of development from perspectives of non-denominational action among so called Engaged Buddhists. Departing from qualitative interviews with nine leaders of socially engaged organizations from five Asian countries, the systemic programming resulting from their ideals are compared to key principles and programming of international development cooperation. Responding to the question:”What policy ideals shape the development programming, and can these be linked to forms of power and the rights-based approach?” this inter-disciplinary and multi-sited study feeds into the increased interest in faith-based expressions within the general public sphere, and specifically in the development industry. Guided by the ontology of critical realism, a mixed method is used shaped by qualitative interviews and participatory observations, enabling both analysis of meanings and development programming. Based on their views on Buddhist ethics and practices, the leaders address development topics common today. Policies expressed are placed within a communication culture for change, yet not necessarily by conventional confrontational advocacy modes. Diverse understandings are at play, such as how to convey meanings of “kindness”. Although not referring to concepts common within the social and cultural structures of contemporary international development cooperation, the actors develop methods based on principles of participation in particular and the work today can also be related to other principles of the Human Rights Based Approach. The policies and programming are linked to invisible, informal and formal forms of power although informants refer to interpretations of compassion, inter-relatedness and non-dualism, among other. From a perspective of development cooperation, a hypothetical argument is advanced suggesting that the informants do not differ at substantial level related to their understanding and practice of Buddhism or their general approaches to development topics, as much as they differ regarding their approach to programming aimed at influencing forms of power. The common criticism of Buddhists not addressing power can then for this group be nuanced, and indicatively suggested not to be valid regarding invisible and informal power, but rather regarding formal power. Academic fields: Communication for development with reference to sociology of religion, political science, global studies and multi-sited ethnography. Key words: Engaged Buddhism, Civil Society Organizations, Faith-Based Organizations, Human Right Based Approach, participation, complexity/systemic approaches, power, Thich Nhath Hanh, Sister Chan Khong, Sulak Sivaraksa, Bikkhuni Dhammananda, A.T. Ariyaratne, Sarvodaya.
Swedish abstract
Not applicable.
Publisher Malmö högskola/Kultur och samhälle
Pages 92 (excl annexes)
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) Engaged Buddhism, Civil Society Organizations, Faith-Based Organizations, Human Right Based Approach, participation, complexity/systemic approaches, power, Thich Nhath Hanh, Sister Chan Khong, Sulak Sivaraksa, Bikkhuni Dhammananda, A.T. Ariyaratne, Sarvodaya.
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/21197 (link to this page)

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